Ivan Reitman to the 'Ghostbusters' haters: Wait and see

Steven Zeitchik
Los Angeles Times (TNS)
  • The all-female "Ghostbusters" opens Friday.
  • Reitman urges people to see the movie before judging it.

Paul Feig's new "Ghostbusters" movie has been one of the most scrutinized of the year, with a flood of pre-release debate over the need for an update. Then there's that much-disliked trailer.
But Ivan Reitman, the mastermind behind the original and a guiding force on the new film, has a message: patience and understanding.
"Many of the people writing furiously about it were at an age, maybe 7 or 8 or 9, when 'Ghostbusters' was the coolest thing they ever experienced. And now there's this two-minute trailer and how can that stand up to it?" he said. "It's not so much that the trailer was bad. The trailer was fine. It just can't stand up to more than 25 years of personal experience."
That, he believes, will change upon release. "That's why people have to see it. Word will be out quickly."

Projects: Reitman has been heading up Ghost Corp., the branding-based production company, for a variety of Ghostbusters projects, including a potential Channing Tatum film. Included in that effort is a "Ghostbusters" VR experience; the director was speaking to The Times during its launch at Madame Tussaud's recently. Reitman, who directed the first two "Ghostbusters" films, was originally developing a third movie with the original cast before plans went awry in part due to Bill Murray's unpredictability and the death of original star and co-writer Harold Ramis.

Ghostbusters Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) in "Ghostbusters." The movie opens Thursday at Regal West Manchester Stadium 13, Frank Theatres Queensgate Stadium 13 and R/C Hanover Movies.

The filmmaker says he has no regrets about not being involved in the new movie, which arrives in theaters Friday. "You have to pass it on," he said. "Paul did some brilliant things, particularly in the four main characters. I'm confident when you see them interacting with each other and you think of what Bill and Harold and Sigourney and Dan did in those two movies, audiences will respond in the same way."
Box office: Early tracking has put the opening for the new film in the $40 million to $50 million range. That wouldn't be a huge amount — it would barely be above the per-screen average of the first film, which had a lot less opening-weekend awareness — but in a soft summer it wouldn't be bad either. An opening of $45 million, for instance, would be the eighth-highest of the year and the second-highest of any non-animated or superhero film.

From left, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones in "Ghostbusters." The movie opens Thursday at Regal West Manchester Stadium 13, Frank Theatres Queensgate Stadium 13 and R/C Hanover Movies.

One reason for hope is the collaboration of Feig and the primarily female cast, especially Melissa McCarthy, a pairing that has yielded three hits ("Bridesmaids," "The Heat" and "Spy"). Reitman, for his part, said the shift to an all-female cast for "Ghostbusters" was a logical one. "We live in a different era than the early 1980s, one of broadened intelligence."
So, then: Did the online reaction, which in some cases has been tainted with gender bias, surprise him?
"We were concerned about that kind of thing being a possibility. It was bigger than I'd imagined. I wasn't deeply involved in the internet, so I didn't realize how vicious it could be." He paused. "But we're all adults. We knew what we were getting into."